Planning for Project Habanero Hatch

IMG_9787In the TURNology, project garage sits several corner-carving vehicles, just waiting to be wrenched on. The most recent of which is a 2014 Ford Fiesta ST. Most of the staff here has been a fan of this little car since it arrived but we’re already searching for ways to make it better. “If it aint broken, don’t fix it,” said none of us, ever.

So what should we tweak on the little pip squeak? Complaint number one is that we can’t hear the turbo. Ford worked hard to keep most of the noise isolated to the engine compartment but we would definitely like to hear a little more symphonic notes of spool and blow-off valve. To solve this, an aftermarket intake will be installed.

Also, when we put the car on the chassis dyno to get a performance baseline, it made 175 horsepower and 218 lb-ft to the tires. On the second pull, the car made 155 horsepower and 199 lb-ft torque, down 20 horsepower from the previous pull. Where did we lose those ponies? The most likely culprit is heat-soak. As the induction system got warm from the previous pulls, it reduced the density of the air in the system and hence its power producing ability. To remedy this situation, a larger intercooler is on the to-do list.

It goes without saying that we’d like to find a little more horsepower locked away in the Fiesta’s 1.6-liter Ecoboost. We’ll tweak the engine’s tuning with one of the many great aftermarket programmers available and install a more free flowing exhaust system. We’ll produce dyno testing throughout the upgrade process and find out just how much power we can gain and through which part combinations.

IMG_9787The ST’s suspension is extremely well made from the factory. However, it, like all street cars, has to be supple enough to tolerate less-than-perfect roads, speed bumps and any manner of other road hazards. We can tolerate a bumpy ride if it means better performance at the autocross and track. We’ll likely upgrade the shocks, springs and say bars to keep the car a little flatter during the corners.

2014-ford-fiesta-st-engineThe Fiesta’s stock wheels and tires, though very sticky, are fighting an uphill battle against a potent engine combination and a small contact patch. Though wheel options for the car are few and far between at the moment, and our ST is already equipped withO.Z Formula HLT wheels, we would like to replace them with wider units and subsequently wider rubber. We’ll push the limits of the stock fender wells to find out what the largest wheel/tire combinations will work without rubbing.

The stock brakes are pretty darn good but we’ll be experimenting with track compound pads and potentially a big brake kit to bring the car up to the next level of performance.

We really like this car and our goal is not to change its already sporty demeanor, but to improve upon all of the areas that Ford already did write. If you can think of some mods you’d like to see done on the car, drop us a line on our Facebook.

About the author

Evan Perkins

Evan Perkins is a seasoned automotive journalist with a passion for road racing. Evan has logged seat time in more cars than he can count and has a deep-seeded love for all genres of the motoring world.
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